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William Richard Lajoie (born September 27, 1934, at Wyandotte, Michigan) is assistant to the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers of American Major League Baseball, and was formerly the general manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1984 to 1990. He was the general manager of the world champion 1984 Tigers.

Lajoie attended Western Michigan University, earning a bachelor of science degree in 1956. An All-American athlete at WMU, he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles organization following graduation. After a nine-year playing career as a minor league outfielder in farm systems of the Orioles, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins, Lajoie became a scout and minor league manager with Cincinnati.

He then joined the Tigers organization in 1974 as a member of the scouting department. By 1979 he was named the assistant general manager to Tigers GM Jim Campbell. During his time as GM, Lajoie is credited with several transactions that helped the Tigers to the 1984 World Series championship and a 1987 division title. Notable transactions include signing aging veteran Darrell Evans in 1984; Kirk Gibson leaving as a free agent; and trading John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander in 1987. While ridiculed by Detroit fans now, the Smoltz trade helped the Tigers make the playoffs in 1987, as Alexander posted 9 wins and 0 losses in 11 starts, with a 1.53 earned run average. Smoltz, at the time, was a lightly regarded prospect in the low minor leagues. After an internal power struggle in 1990, he was replaced as Tigers GM by his assistant, Joe McDonald.

In addition to his current post, Lajoie also has served as a special assistant or consultant to the Atlanta Braves (1995-1998), Milwaukee Brewers (2001-2002), and Boston Red Sox (2003-2006). Lajoie played a high-profile consulting role in the Boston front office during the brief interregnum between November 2005 and February 2006 caused by the temporary resignation of Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. He headed the Red Sox delegation to the 2005 winter baseball meetings and was instrumental in the multi-player trade with the Florida Marlins that netted pitcher Josh Beckett. However, upon Epstein's return, Lajoie resigned, and a few weeks later assumed his current post as a top advisor to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.

In 1988, Bill Lajoie was honored with a distinguished alumni award from the Western Michigan University Alumni Association.

References

  • Kline, Chris, Leventhal, Josh and Lingo, Will, editors, Baseball America 2007 Directory. Durham, NC: Baseball America, 2007.

External links

Preceded by
Jim Campbell
Detroit Tigers General Manager
19841990
Succeeded by
Joe McDonald
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